Watch: The Alternate Endings To ‘Lost’

What could've been

As I’m sure you are well aware, the 2 1/2-hour season finale of Lost aired on ABC last night bringing a close to a story that has captured the imagination of the world for the past 6 years and while the ep did not satisfy everyone (after all, how could it?) it did manage to strike a cord with many loyal fans of the show. Because the finale ep was such a big deal, the show’s creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse filmed 3 alternate endings for the series in order to keep the real ending a complete surprise:


These alternate endings were aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night after the real season finale ending aired … but in case you missed seeing them last night, you can check them out now — after the jump


LOL!! I have to say, these alt endings were well done … and they are very funny. Well, at least the first one and the last one, the second one … notsomuch. To be honest, I just knew that the show would end with some death or dream element. I had been joking all weekend long that Lost would end in the same manner that the sitcom Newhart ended in the 80′s (which means absolutely nothing to those of you too young to remember the show) so I’m glad that the “Newhart ending” was paid homage to in this alt endings featurette.

BE WARNED … if you have not yet watched the finale ep of Lost, you may not want to read any further … spoilers ahead!

Now … about the actual ending. I will say that I can appreciate and applaud the fact that the ending that was aired last night very likely satisfied ardent fans of the show. All of the flashback scenes were crafted so that fans could be reminded of their favorite moments on the show … and that was nice. I didn’t love the ending and, to be honest, felt the purgatory off the island bit was a bit of a cop out. Over the course of the series in the past 6 years, Lost has given us some breathtaking and exciting season finale episodes … IMHO, the series finale was nowhere near as exciting. As you may recall in the first ep of this final season, we saw the island at the bottom of the sea (after it was blown up in the season finale last year) in the sideways timeline … how anyone could be surprised that they were all dead in that sideways timeline is beyond me. I will say I was impressed with the fact that while everyone who appeared in the sideways timeline was dead, we don’t know “when” their meeting at the church took place. As was explained by the first dead Lost character Christian Shepard, some died before and some died after … but they made a place where they could all come together and be reminded of their time together. Still … considering how epic Lost used to be in seasons past, I guess I was hoping/expecting more.

Here are the 2 main reasons why Lost failed to deliver for me. First, when the show started in 2004, the producers were very clear that all of the mysteries of the island would be explained in scientific terms. When the Dharma Initiative was introduced on the show, I felt that was where the answers would come … IMHO, the Dharma Initiative part of the saga was never fully realized and, in the end, offered nothing of any salience to the overall story … which ended in a “supernatural” way rather than a fully explained scientific way. The show started out as a thinking person’s show (ie. figuring out all the clues in the first 2 seasons was the best part of the whole experience) but kinda ended up as a bit of a sappy, melodramatic supernatural soap opera. Second, about midway thru the series — when fans started hypothesizing that maybe the island was a purgatory for the characters and that everyone there was dead — the producers INSISTED that no, the characters were not dead and that the island was not purgatory. But, in my mind, making the world off the island the purgatory (in opposition to the “real world” of the island) seems like a HUGE cop out to me. It always seemed evident to me that a show with mysterious polar bears (again, a huge element early on in the show that just disappeared and never went anywhere), giant smoke monsters and a high population of dead people (HELLO?!) has to revolve around either a big dream or an afterlife. Despite what we were told, that’s exactly what the show turned out to be. It is my personal belief that she show lost it’s hold on me when the characters got off the island the first time (season 4, I believe). Being stranded on the island and then getting off the island and then going back to the island is where it all seemed to fall apart for me. If I had the opportunity to craft an ending for Lost, I’d've ended it by showing a shadowy figure underneath the “light in the cave” entering numbers into a computer, pressing buttons. That would’ve brought the whole thing back to a satisfying place for me ;)

I did like how the Lost series began with Jack opening his eye and ended with Jack closing his eye. I felt, tho subtle, that was a great way to bookend the whole thing.

But, again, as I mentioned yesterday … I knew that not everyone would be satisfied with the ending of Lost but as long as the ardent fans of the show are satisfied, then that is all that matters. I have to know … what did YOU think of last night’s series finale of Lost? Were you satisfied? Disappointed? I’d love to read detailed responses … go!

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  1. Corey

    At the end of the ep, I wasn’t sure if I was disappointed or pleased. It was just kind of like, “oh, ok”. I wasn’t surprised that they were all dead, and I guess I liked the purgatory idea, especially with Ben staying behind to figure his shiz out. I feel like they left a lot of BIG questions unanswered though (it is Lost, of course). Like, why was Walt so “special” and we never saw him again, even in the church. Also, why did Claire HAVE to raise Aaron… was it to keep her from going crizazy like she did?
    I was definitely a little choked up by all the emotion of the ending, but no tears or anything. I will say that I really liked the closing images of Jack in the bamboo field with his eye closing. I thought it was a nice way to bring the series full circle at least regarding imagery.
    I’ll have to let the whole episode sink in a little bit more to see how I really felt about it. I was a rabid Lostie for 6 years (though I lost a little steam this season), and I really really want to like the ending…

  2. Brittany

    I was disappointed, they never revealed anything about the statue Jacob lived in, the one with an odd number of toes, they never revealed how or why Jacob or his “mother” had powers, what was the light source, was it something mystical or some really advanced power source. Lost was a complete was of time, I wish I had never bothered with, I prefer shows that actually give answers.

  3. Margie

    I enjoyed it immensely. Sure some things are left unanswered but it doesn’t matter. It was about the people, their life on the island and they purgatory they envsioned for themselves after death.

    FYI, Juliet and Sawyer’s “reunion” got me good.

  4. joann

    I knew they wouldn’t be able to answer all the mysteries in the finale, so I was pretty happy with the way it ended. It made me think of the ending of Titanic–everyone reunited at the end, together with the people who made a big impact on their lives. I thought that was beautiful.

  5. Shelly

    I, personally, think the finale was great. By not answering every single question from fans, keeps us all talking about the show. It is, what it is.

    I was a loyal fan of the show for 6 seasons and will greatly miss it.

  6. Margie

    Also, Newhart’s ending was genius! I’m old!

  7. emmer

    I am disappointed because there is no answer to the significance of the island. What exactly was the light? Why was it so important to keep island out for under the water? Why weren’t Walt and Michael in this purgatory, why weren’t they sought out to remember. I just want to know what the hell that stupid island was!!

  8. CJ

    I was overall pleased by the ending. I had kinda assumed there would be a purgatory like ending, so I was fully prepared. I, like many others, still have unanswered questions, but I feel like the questions that were answered were important and those left unanswered can be determined by each individual as they see fit… like, “what is the island?” or “What is the light?”, etc. However, there were a few that were skipped over… Why was Walt so special? How did MIB become the smoke monster by simply going into the cave, but Jack, Hurley, Ben, and Desmond did not?
    I wondered about the existence of the polar bears on the island too… but then wondered if they were brought to the island by the Dharma guys for testing purposes. They even could have somehow been brought to the island in the same way the wheel transported Ben and Locke off the island… but in the reverse.
    By the look of the surroundings in the cave of light, it was obviously built by some ancient group of people… who most likely built the statue on the shore of the island. By the looks of the statue, it could have possibly been built to scare off other early groups people from coming to the island. Simple scare tactics as a way of protecting the island and the light.
    I feel like I really need to watch the entire series again once my mind has had enough to to process the finale. Great show that will truly be missed!

  9. CJ

    ALSO: Some people have questioned by Mr. Ecko, Michael and Walt were not in the purgatory with everyone else…

    Mr. Ecko: The writers answered this on people.com… The actor who played that role turned down the chance to come back.

    Michael and Walt: IMHO, I believe they chose not to show them for the simple fact that the actor who played Walt is much older and since the purgatory life was supposed to take place during the same time of the initial crash (a time with Walt was probably 10 or 11), the actor would NOT look remotely the same… so instead of replacing him with someone else, they just simply chose not to show them.

  10. Sjvanbul

    Throughout most of last nights episode I felt disappointed. You could tell early on in the episode that they had little to no plans of answering some of the big questions. (Although they had said that there were many things that they simply did not have time to answer) That being said, I LOVED the battle between Jack and Fake Lock, and I also loved how real Lock and Jack were able to come back together in the afterlife. For many seasons I hated how pathetic the show had made Jack become, so I was SOOO glad that he was able to find redemption and turned out not to be such a total wus. DItto for Lock, I am glad that he actually seemed to be right all along. Even Ben found some redemption in the end. I think however my favorite part was the fact that Hurley played such an important role in bringing everyone together. I also found it interesting that Jack always said “you live together and die alone” and even though the character may have “died” alone they all went on together. I thought that Vincent coming to be with Jack while he died was a nice touch as well. As for Lost not answering all of our questions and leaving us thing WTF?! would it REALLY be Lost if it didn’t leave us thinking “What the Hell Just happened?!” I thought that, yes there were many things that they did not answer, but I thought it was done beautifully. In my humble opinion I thought it was actually one of the best series finales that I have seen.

    But I ask you… WHERE THE HELL WAS MR. EKO?! Surely he made it to Heaven with the rest of them :-p

  11. Sjvanbul

    @CJ – I don’t think the “island” was the purgatory. They did not all die together or at the same time. That was clearly stated by Christian. The purgatory was the time spent this season when they were trying to find their way back to each other.

  12. lucy

    It could have ended better but it ended with even more bs. Blah. I said it a couple years ago…the writers were either confused themselves, not very good or laughing at us…or all of the above. I could have thought of something better but the show started to turn and the bs had already begun a couple years ago so I guess they had to go with it.

  13. lucy

    BTW I used to be a huge LOST fan, still am but not so impressed anymore.

  14. CJ

    @Sjvanbul – Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that I thought the island was purgatory. I realized that the sideways story was the purgatory. When I said “I had kinda assumed there would be a purgatory like ending, so I was fully prepared.” I was meaning the sideways story, NOT the island.

  15. Amanda

    Michael is trapped on the island, unable to move on. Walt, well that actor must be in his late teens by now, so logistics probably kept him out. As for Eko, that’s the actor being a pain. There are some things even writers can’t overcome.

  16. Vin

    for me, the only answer i need to all those questions is that the island is a magic place… polar bears, numbers, whatever… none of them were more important than the real question. why these people, what were they heading towards, and where would they end up. the questions of what the island was were sufficiently answered for me. and i loved the way they ended it. couldn7t have asked for more.

  17. Janelle

    I could ramble on in this comment section barely anyone will read, but might do it elsewhere for my friends to read. But I think that it should be pointed out that they probably weren’t going for an ‘exciting’ over the top ending (which part of it was for me). It was satisfying, the key word. People are smart and will read the show. There is no ending that will stand out as mind-boggling, and I think that’s one of the problems. The overall writing and production of this show in itself was mind-boggling. A molded ending is what really matters. Not how to make THE original ending, because every possible ending has already been writing. It’s nearly impossible to be original nowadays. What really matters is the execution and how you go about it. And I see them succeeding overall. That’s my take.

    I hope you enjoyed the finale, Trent :)

  18. Chris

    Amazing finale! Some questions not answered but that’s Lost for you.As for the polar bears, they were explained.They were brought there for testing by the dharma initiative.The cages Sawyer and Kate were trapped in in season three were where the polars used to be tested (remember the fish shaped treats that dispensed from insdie the cage).

  19. nicole

    i was a lil dissapointed cause i was hoping for something other the obv. answer to what was going on. BUT man it was great. they did really good.

  20. Kendra

    I’m still trying to sort out my emotions over this finale..In one sense, I still have a lot of questions and am annoyed that not everything was answered..In another sense, I’m glad they didn’t explain every thing..It adds to the whole feel of the show from day 1..I really liked the finale..I liked the flashbacks and was teary eyed more than once..Jin and Sun’s flash?? Ugh..Killed me..But the waterworks didn’t start coming hard until Vincent came to lay down by Jack..I’m a huge animal lover and that was such a tender moment for me..

    I think series finales are hard..You’re almost always going to have people wanted something different..But crap..It could have been worse! Like Newhart!! (I’m old, too!!)

  21. Mr. Gyllenhaal

    I found the finale episode to be awesome. Yes, the show is as confusing as it gets but that is what I liked about it. I am happy they didn’t answer everything because not every detail pertains to the story even if we really wanted it too. I found the whole flash sideways endearing and poignant. I think they way they tied everything together in the end was exactly what I wanted. I am actually still really sad today, more so I think than last night. I want to start this show over again from the beginning!! It was a classic ending for a classic show and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  22. Cali

    AWESOME! Loved, loved, triple loved it! And, oh ,so thought provoking: here on earth, our lives, are hell. And, heaven includes wars and love and hate and joy. Really puts perspective on its ear!

  23. Heather

    Although last night’s ep did leave a lot of unanswered questions, I still loved it and thought it was beautifully written, orchestrated, and acted out. I cried like a baby when Claire and Charlie had their flash, as well as Juliet and Sawyer. SO happy Kate ended up with Jack! The main unanswered question for me, aside from the Dharma issue, is Widmore–what the hell was his deal? They never tied all that up! And why was Penny there at the end–she wasn’t on the plane at the beginning, and shouldn’t Anna Lucia have been there?

  24. >.>
    Boone made an appearance. All is well
    .

  25. Jackie

    Anna Lucia wasn’t there because she wasn’t ready to “move on”.

    Not everyone died at the same time. Richard, Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Lapides and Miles got off the island and hopefully led full lives and died.

    The sideways was a collective dream where they all can meet again. Like in Titanic.

  26. frisa

    I was completely disappointed…can’t the writers come up with anything a little more creative than a dream…i.e. Newhart, Dallas, Roseanne…really??? But I have been an avid watcher and loved it but I was kinda disappointed with the ending. Too many unanswered questions!

  27. frisa

    I did however LOVE that Sayid and Shannon were reunited!!

  28. nicole

    @BloodtNeptune- HAHA that was deffo my fav part…as soon as he showed up i was like ‘BOOOOOONE!’ and then my dad told me to shut up lol

  29. karen

    I was disappointed to realize they were all dead and the sideways world was purgatory as it seemed like such a cop-out to me, such an easy way out.

    In reflecting on it later, however, I started to feel good about it. Jack’s father said they all died at different times but that since their time together was the most important part of their lives, they had needed to come together in order to move on. Saying it had been the most important part of their lives felt to me like a nice acknowledgment of how invested in the show many viewers had become. (Not that watching the show was the most important part of people’s lives, but still.)

    What really made the finale meaningful to me, though, was thinking back to the first (or second?) episode when Jack said to the group that if they didn’t figure out how to live together, they would die alone. They *did* figure out how to live together, so they were not dying alone. Once I realized that connection, I immediately felt good about the finale. It showed they had risen to the challenge of their lives and succeeded, and it felt comforting.

    I also really, really appreciated that Vincent laid down with Jack as he was dying. Having recently lost my dog (whom I loved beyond description), I can’t think of anything more comforting than having a sweet dog choose to lie down beside me at that moment.

    The only thing that still bugs me about the finale is the religious angle. I’m not into that and it’s a little annoying, but then I go back to the “live together, die together” thing and I’m ok.

  30. Thought it was fitting that Lost began and ended with Jack, after all it is his story basically, But I too want the Walt question answered, why is he special and if he’s special are Aaron and Ji Yeon, special too (maybe that’s Lost: the Next Generation).

    Also if they all died at separate times , then an older Walt could have been there since he would have died later than the the characters.

    I have other questions, I’m still in WTF just happen phase.

  31. Meghan

    I was very satisfied. It didn’t answer the many questions people have, but I don’t think it was trying to. For all the mysteries of the island I think the focus of the show has been the characters and their redemption. I love a story with rich, believable characters and this was always the case with Lost. I loved all of them and am sorry that there will be no more adventures. Jack has always been my favorite character since the series began and his struggle was heartwrenching yet so lovely and hopeful. It’s hard to find characters like this on television. I don’t know that I will ever find it again.

  32. Carolyn

    I think that in the end, the show reinforced where our values in real life should be: no matter what we do, it’s the people we surround ourselves with that make life have meaning.

  33. Smoo

    I disagree with you Trent on some accounts. It is not a cop-out. It is something they had a vision for this whole time. The island was real, the people were real. The point of the sideways was supposed to be a spiritual experience meaning they all needed love and each other to truly move on. It was left open for interpretation for a reason. A true Lost fan UNDERSTANDS that polar bears and random food drop-offs aren’t what MADE Lost, it’s the characters, its the HEART of the show. If you are looking for those minor questions answered, then I truly don’t believe you got Lost. People need to just think and think about the episode.

    • @Smoo — I totally understand your perspective and I’m happy that you are satisfied with the finale ep. In my estimation, the show went from rewarded the thinking fans – who used to be catered to with real intrigue and craftily puzzling storylines – to a show that just fed melodramatics and expected viewers to just “go with it”. I understand the heart of any show is the characters and the way they relate to one another, but considering how Lost started out as such a deliciously addictive show (where it used to be fun to pause the show to look for clues, which eventually panned out into real answers) and then turned into a sappy soap opera that ceased to be inventive (I mean where do you go with characters on a island, why, you take them off the island … then you make them go back to the island … then you make them go back in time on the island, then forward in time on the island … then off the island again, but not really cuz they’re dead). If Lost producers really knew from the beginning that the show was going to end with a “purgatory” twist then I can’t help but feel cheated.

  34. Cj

    @express… An older Walt wouldn’t work in the purgatory time frame because it was supposed to be accuring during the same time of the original crash… The same way Aaron is only newly born and Jin and sun’s baby is unborn. Everyone’s character was supposed to be represented as the same age as they were during the initial crash.

  35. KaterHater

    After chewing on it for almost 24 hours, I feel let down by the ending. Last night, while caught up in the emotion of it all, I thought it was pretty good. But upon relection, I am left wanting MORE. Like you, Trent, I wish they had explored the Dharma Initiative further. I also wish they had better explained the Widmore/Ben “war”, and how Eloise fit into that. That and the rich backstories of the characters would have been enough. Instead, they kept introducing tangents like the time-travel stuff and the whole Jacob/Man in Black story. And really, if they were gonna go THERE with the purgatory thing, then they should have played into the obvious: that the ISLAND was the purgatory, and not make up that whole Sideways world.

  36. KaterHater

    Trent, thanks also for the reminder that at the outset, the show’s creators maintained that the story would have SCIENTIFIC explanation. I had forgotten that point. I think that’s further proof that at some point (maybe season 4?) the show “lost its way” (no pun intended) and tried to be bite off more than it could chew. Damon and Carlton also claimed that pre-determining an “end date” for the show would help craft the remaining seasons, but I think it just added to the pressure of wrapping up too many tangents they’d already started.

  37. Smoo

    I don’t believe it was purgatory. ben chose to stay and be with alex and russou. It was their choice to move on together since as christian said, it was the most important time of their lives was the time together. I agree after season 4 it got WAY too much with all of them. I just think overall for a finale of a show like this they got to be happy after life. They are dead but again as christian said “some sooner, some later”. Ben and Hurley could have been hundreds of years just like Jacob. It’s a mind provoking finale that did wrap up all the remaining characters arcs that were still alive. A true lostie smiled when Claire finally got on the plane (like in desmond’s vision in season 3) & kate fufilled what she came back to the island for. I loved it, it’s something that I feel if you thought about more and more, you would really like it…But anyways, thanks for responding to my post, i do understand the complaint of insaneness haha

  38. Danny

    I’m fine with the purgatory thing, they made it clear that everything that happened on the island was real. They could have ended it where the people in the other world crossed over to the Island and closed that reality but I guess Abrahams is saving all the real science fiction stuff for Fringe which actually is dealing with an alternate universe storyline that’s really cool. By the way, Fringe is really good and pays off its sci-fi elements unlike Lost. I agree that it became a supernatural soap opera in the end. All the show had to do even if they didn’t have the budget to show flashbacks was have Locke Monster Guy explain the origins of the Island. After all he went into the light and became a monster, maybe it gave him insight into the Island. He could have told us, “The ancient Egyptians once worshipped here and protected the light, they built a statue to the fertility goddess…the Dharma Initiative tried to manipulate the light which became an electromagnetic energy, the same energy that made your plane fall from the sky. They tried to control it and instead it controlled them by making them have to press a button every 126 minutes.” That’s all he had to have said and it would have resolved so many questions. I should have wrote the frigging episode. Instead it really did feel like they lied to the viewers. Oh yeah and what was the deal with Walt and the polar bears….Did portals occassionally open up on the island into the outside world? Is that how Locke’s Dad came there? Was the temple another group of people that worshipped “The Light”? Is the light God or all the goodness in the world? They should just make a feature film and explain all this. I felt emotionally satisfied but the logical part of my brain feels slapped in the face.

  39. MandaB

    I have loved Lost and watched it religiously for years now and I’m going to have to agree with Trent in saying that I feel a bit cheated. I first got into the show because it felt like a science fiction, thought-provoking piece – I had my Grey’s Anatomy and O.C. to give me the people drama and relationships I needed. I was looking for Lost to give me a little bit more, something that made me think rather than just feel. This finale totally took away from that. I knew where this was going from the very beginning of the season, I was just hoping I would turn out to be wrong! I think parts of it were lovely and I certainly had some questions answered – but I really wish it had given me something to continue thinking about, something a little bit different. I don’t believe it did. It took all the elements that made it unique and ignored them in favour of the types of feelings you can find on just any show. Though I wouldn’t say I hated it, I do feel slightly cheated. p.s. Trent the polar bear was explained – they had a few that were tested on by the Dharma Initiative, we found that out when Kate and Sawyer were first locked in their former cage! :)

  40. money

    LOST season finale=poop sandwich

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